By Elisabeth George | Reporter
In the middle of “cuffing season,” Valentine’s Day and the good old Ring by Spring pressure, singleness can feel a bit overwhelming. As soon as that graduation date starts approaching and people start asking about your future plans, the conversation inevitably turns to your dating status.
The pressure is especially heightened in culturally Christian circles. There’s a heavy push against divorce while simultaneously pushing 21-year-olds to find and marry their soul mates before they head off into the “adult world.”
But what if you don’t have that special someone? My response is, to paraphrase Ru Paul, if you can’t love yourself, how are you supposed to love someone else?
I used to love time alone. Thirteen-year-old me would be thrilled to hear that in a couple years she would be living in an apartment with roommates who love to hang out elsewhere, so she usually has the house to herself. But recently, loving my time alone hasn’t been the case.
I stopped reading as much for pleasure because I had reading for my classes. I didn’t make it a priority to spend time writing for fun or playing the piano because I had projects, papers and assignments. I told myself I was better off going to hang out with friends or going to an event because I could always just spend time by myself.
By putting off time to be alone, I slowly grew to hate it. I felt guilty and neglectful if I spent the afternoon binge-watching “The Office.” I refused to buy myself books because I hadn’t read the ones I’d bought a couple years ago, and I got distracted trying to read because there was a voice in the back of my mind telling me that I wasn’t being productive.
Then one afternoon while I offered to do the dishes for one of my roommates, a thought struck me. Why was I willing to do things for others that I wasn’t willing to do for myself? I realized I was in a neglectful relationship with myself. If you wouldn’t put up with a friend who doesn’t make time to hang out with you, why would you put up with it in yourself?
Whenever I make myself eggs I always think of the scene in “The Runaway Bride” where Julia Robert’s character makes herself eggs in a variety of different ways. She had spent so much time focusing on her partner in her relationships that she didn’t know what she liked. She had to take the time by herself to figure out what she wanted.
Even if you don’t end up with a significant other, or you end up not wanting one, learning to be kind to yourself and creating boundaries will only help you flourish in your personal life. But don’t expect your tastes and needs to always stay the same. Routines from two years ago, even six months ago, may become burdensome and even harmful.
Give yourself permission to change and adapt. I’ve had to branch out in my reading to find books that I really enjoy again, and I had to stop setting a “social quota” for time spent with people each week.
Taking care of yourself emotionally and physically gives you the resources to have healthy relationships without burning out, and that includes a relationship with yourself.
Elisabeth is a senior journalism major from New Braunfels.